Turkey orders 70 army officers detained, cites Gulen links

Turkey orders 70 army officers detained, cites Gulen links
Turkish prosecutors say the officers arrested are linked to the Gulen movement, which Ankara says orchestrated the failed July 2016 coup.
2 min read
29 March, 2018
Turkish man holds a banner of Erdogan (L) and Gulen (R) [Getty]

Turkish prosecutors ordered 70 army officers to be detained over alleged links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric Ankara says orchestrated a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Police also launched operations in 38 provinces across Turkey as part of a general probe against suspected Gulenists, CNN Turk reported. 

Turkish police targeted suspects based on statements made by soldiers who had previously been arrested over Gulenist ties. The suspects are believed to have recruited students into Gulen's opposition movement. 

More than 160,000 people have been jailed since the failed coup attempt in 2016. Nearly the same number of civil servants have been fired for suspected Gulenist ties as part of a wider general crackdown.

Of those jailed, more than 50,000 have been formally charged and are serving time in prison.

Gulen denies any involvement in the 2016 coup attempt.

Critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan say he is using the coup attempt to crush opposition to his rule. Turkey is currently the world's worst jailer of journalists, with 189 behind bars as of March 2018 according to the Stockholm Center for Freedom. 

Ankara says the measures are meant to combat terrorism. Turkey has experienced a number of deadly attacks linked or inspired by the Islamic State group in recent years, including a 2017 nightclub shooting that left 39 dead in Istanbul.

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